Michael Myers (17) went seven innings for the Bearcats in game one against Hazel Green Friday, allowing two runs on six hits and collecting six strikeouts. (Nick Griffin for The Tribune)
CULLMAN – The Cullman Bearcats split their first two semifinal games with the visiting Hazel Green Trojans Friday night. Cullman took game one 5-2 behind a complete game performance from Michael Myers and timely hits from the ‘Cats offense but fell short in game two after Hazel Green put a line drive off the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh to pick up a 2-1 win and force a game three on Saturday.
Game one – Cullman 5, Hazel Green 2
Myers got the game one start for the Bearcats and outside of two home run swings from Trojans’ standout Jordan Beck, he kept the Hazel Green offense at bay long enough for the ‘Cats offense to pull away.
Cullman got ahead 1-0 early when Will Morrison drove in a run with a single up the middle and made it 2-0 when Morrison came home to score later on an error. After reaching base with a lead-off single, Hayden Henderson stretched the lead to 3-0 when he came around to score from third on a throwing error.
Hazel Green got one back in the top of the fourth on a solo home run from Beck, and after two scoreless innings, chipped away at the lead again when Beck made it 3-2 with his second home run of the game in the sixth inning.
With a runner on base in the bottom of the sixth, Morrison provided Myers a little insurance with a two-run homer over the right-field fence. With a 5-2 lead in the top of the seventh, Myers got two batters to fly out and struck out another to seal the 5-2 win. Morrison did most of the damage for Cullman offensively, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run.
Game two – Cullman 1, Hazel Green 2
Morrison started on the mound for the ‘Cats in game two and despite a stellar pitching performance from the right-hander, Cullman fell 2-1 in dramatic fashion.
Game two moved quickly and remained scoreless until the top of the third when Dylon Wallace crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice to take a 1-0 lead. It was the only run the ‘Cats would score in game two.
Morrison and Hazel Green starter Isaiah Magwood continued to duel it out through the middle innings until the bottom of the seventh. On a 1-1 count with two outs and a runner at first, Hazel Green’s Tyler Duskin kept the Trojans’ season alive with a two-run walk-off home run that ended the game at 2-1.
Morrison completed six-and-two-thirds innings in the game, allowing just two runs on three hits and picking up nine strikeouts
The rubber match is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bill Shelton Field with a trip to Montgomery on the line for Cullman and Hazel Green.
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